Sound — 10
The sound compared to the albums Waking The Fallen and Sound Of The Seventh Trumpet on City Of Evil is so much better. The Rev is without one of the best drummers I've heard, he's amazing with his variety of rythem with double bass and I was shocked when I heard the drum break during "Blinded In Chains" as well as different styles of drumming such as the ending of "Sidewinder." Gates has more skill on a guitar compared to every metal guitarist that I have heard. He combines an '80s with Latin in his solos and its just extremely intense (note "Sidewinder" and "The Wicked End." Gates's and Zacky's harmonized guitar riffs are very symphonic and very enjoyable to listen to.
Lyrics — 10
Before buying this album, I knew that Shadows had throat surgery and wasn't screaming anymore. I was apprehensive and a little disappointed because he has one of the coolest and tolerable screams out there. But when I started listening to the songs - I was amazed to hear the singing talent the man has that I had never heard before. He but a great intensity to his singing at key points such as breakdowns where screaming would be common in most metal bands. There were points where his singing was a little nasaly and slightly annoying (note Sidewinder) but the overall power of his voice was remarkable. The lyrics were a lot different compared to the other albums, there was more cursing and less meaning in the lyrics but all the same they are very entertaining and extremely powerful (note the climactic point in "Trashed And Scattered"). Kudos for Shadows for pulling off a metal CD with no screaming.
Overall Impression — 10
The musical talent of Avenged Sevenfold surpasses most artists in their genre and their skills have improved remarkably since "Sound Of The Seventh Trumpet." I am in love with "Bat Country" for its '80s harmony on guitars and vocals as well as "The Wicked End" for its symphony break, bassline, incredible guitar solo, and Shadows vocal range. I would buy this album in a heartbeat if it were stolen and then breat the person who stole it from me with a hose if I were to find them.